Wrestling triumphs over dual meet weekend

By Ed Rietveld

Wrestling finished its regular season Sunday with two road duel meets at Cleveland State University against Gardner-Webb University (4-13) and the Cleveland State Vikings (4-10).

The Huskies (10-8) were able to finish as the regular season winners of their last three dual meets, the last two coming on Sunday with a 22-12 victory over the Runnin’ Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb and 26-11 over Cleveland State University.

After falling into a bit of a hole in the day’s first dual against GWU, NIU was able to rebound from a 6-0 deficit and come away with the win.

At 197 pounds, redshirt sophomore Parker Settecase had a 9-4 decision over Gardner-Webb’s Blake Salyer to put the Huskies on the board, 6-3.

Head coach Ryan Ludwig said he felt his team needed Settecase’s victory to start getting the wrestlers going.

“Well, we got a slow start against Gardner-Webb, but after that Parker Settecase got us back on track,” Ludwig said. “He fought a very hard-fought battle and wrestled with a lot of intensity and fire that got everybody fired up.”

The Huskies won four straight matches coming out of halftime to help catapult them to victory over the Runnin’ Bulldogs. At 133 pounds, junior Nick Smith started his undefeated day with a 17-6 major decision over GWU’s Robbie Golde.

Smith, who won his second match of the day 8-5 over Cleveland State’s Mike Carlone, said he capitalized on the fatigue of his opponents.

“I think I broke both of the guys down,” Smith said. “I feel like I had them pretty tired, so I just kept working hard.”

Redshirt junior Kevin Fanta pinned his opponent Davante Andujar at 1:05 into the second period.

Junior Rob Jillard also started his undefeated day with a 7-3 victory over Gardner-Webb’s Ryan Medved.

In the day’s second dual, the Huskies used a quick start to propel them to their third consecutive victory.

The Huskies broke out to a 13-0 lead over the Vikings thanks to a 12-3 bigger decision victory by redshirt junior Matt Mougin against CSU’s Koort Leyrer.

Freshman Bryan Laughlin won his first match on the day with a 9-3 victory over the Vikings’ Bobby Blankenship.

Settecase finished his undefeated day with a pin of Cleveland State’s Corbin Boone.

The Vikings won three of the next four matches, cutting the Huskies’ lead to 16-9.

With the score 20-9, freshman Andrew Morse put the final nail in the coffin with his pinfall victory over the Vikings’ Mike Mencini just more than a minute into the third period.

Morse, the fourth and final Huskie wrestler to go undefeated Sunday, said the team needs to start preparing for the MAC conference tournament on March 10.

“We just need to stay focused, keep working and not get worn out too much, but keep making improvements forward,” Morse said.